Final improvements in sight for Blackberry Creek

By on February 8, 2013

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Final improvements to the Blackberry Creek Subdivision could be completed by this fall, according to an agreement between the village and the company holding the developer’s bonds.

Board members on Monday approved the agreement with an attached punch list of items to be completed by Aug. 1. The list includes repairing, replacing and installing sidewalks and curbs, repairing fire hydrants and other water-related structures, and installing bike paths and applying the last layer of asphalt on a number of streets, among a myriad of other smaller fixes.

“What you see before you is what we think is the best completion agreement we’re going to get,” Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven told the board last week.

“I’m impressed with the amount of detail,” Village President Dave Anderson said.

Elburn Village Attorney Bob Britz did caution that there is only a finite amount of bond money, so it is possible that not all of the items will get completed. The village does have the right to supervise the work done to make sure it meets the standards set out in the agreement.

According to Nevenhoven, although there are 40 to 60 items per unit, the single most obvious improvement residents will notice is the final layer of asphalt on the roads east of Blackberry Creek Road.

“Other items won’t be things the average person will notice, but collectively, they’re a big deal,” Nevenhoven said.

Nevenhoven has been a resident of Blackberry Creek for nine years. Bill Grabarek stated during Elburn Station discussions that Blackberry Creek is a “failed development,” Nevenhoven, however, said he thinks “it’s a great neighborhood.”

Nevenhoven said he has seen other subdivisions where work stopped during the recent recession—subdivisions where there were two or three houses built, and nothing else.

“There’s one area that hasn’t been finished, but it’s in good shape,” he said.

According to information provided to the board by Building Commissioner Tom Brennan, with a total of 735 building permits issued, Blackberry Creek is a little over half built-out. Construction dropped off substantially in 2007, and by 2009, only one building permit was issued. To date, two permits have been requested this year.

In addition to the agreement with BMO Harris, board members on Monday also approved a resolution to accept the dedication of open space, detention and retention basins and public improvements within the subdivision.

According to Britz, the resolution will allow the village to maintain these common areas.

The village in April 2010 declared Blackberry Creek Subdivision developers B&B Enterprises, Inc. to be in material default for unfinished street and other infrastructure work, and called for more than $10 million in developer insurance bonds to pay for the improvements.

The village has been working through the legal process to compel the bond company to complete the improvements within the subdivision.

“That’s why we hold bonds,” Nevenhoven said.